Ninth Circuit Rules California's Large Capacity Magazine Ban Unconstitutional

August 18, 2020

By

Matthew Hoy

Last week the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that Judge Roger Benitez's decision to grant summary judgement against California's ban on so-called "large-capacity magazines" (LCM) was correct, because such a prohibition violates the Second Amendment.

I will be talking about this case shortly on Dave Congalton's Hometown Radio Show starting at 6:05 p.m. PDT. You can listen live here. I add the recorded audio to the end of this post once it is available.

For those Californians who are interested in what the ruling means for them in the immediate aftermath, the California Rifle and Pistol Association has provided a handy FAQ and analysis piece that you can find here.

Some important things to note:

  • This doesn't mean that you can go out and buy, order or manufacture LCMs legally just yet. Attorney General Xavier Becerra has until Aug. 28 to request the Ninth Circuit take the case en banc.
  • If the past is any indication (see Peruta), the case may very well go en banc and be overturned. President Donald Trump has made serious in-roads into righting the overwhelming liberal slant on the Ninth Circuit, but GOP-appointed judges are still in the minority on the bench.
  • If, by some miracle, the Ninth Circuit doesn't take it en banc, it is very likely that this type of ban is done in the states covered by the Ninth Circuit, including Colorado's 15-round limit on magazines. (Correction: Colorado is not in the 9th Circuit and would not be impacted by this ruling.) With the Supreme Court's abdication of 2nd Amendment jurisprudence as evidenced by the refusal to take any of ten cases last term. Any refusal to take the case by the Supreme Court means whatever happens in the Ninth Circuit is likely to be the last word.

We will know more on or about Aug. 28.

I want to repeat an important warning for California gun owners: If you have a so-called "featureless" rifle that does not have a fixed magazine, DO NOT put a 10+ round magazine in your rifle. While enforcement of the LCM ban is currently on hold as this case progresses, it does not invalidate all the other gun laws we have on the books. Putting an LCM in one of those rifles creates an "assault rifle" which is illegal under a different part of California law.

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2 comments on “Ninth Circuit Rules California's Large Capacity Magazine Ban Unconstitutional”

    1. The main thing is that when it comes to a self-defense scenario, you never know what is necessary to defend yourself. There have been many instances where there is a home invasion involving three or more armed people. If the magazine capacity limit is 10, then that's 3 rounds for each assailant, plus one leftover. What happens when you miss, which is common in highly stressful situations? What about if they are hopped up on drugs? What if your assailants aren't using 10 round magazines?

      There was a home-invasion robbery a few years ago in Atascadero of all places involving SEVEN men. Now a 10-round magazine doesn't quite seem enough.

      https://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/crime/article210992599.html

      The Dayton shooter from last year was shot 30 times by cops before he was stopped.

      https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2019/12/06/dayton-shooters-autopsy-lists-30-gunshot-wounds/4357662002/

      The state is purposefully putting law-abiding people at a disadvantage in self-defense situations in order to prevent mass shootings that are infinitely more rare than common self-defense situations.

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